JAKARTA — Lombok Island is an ideal holiday getaway with its clear blue skies, sparkling turquoise waters and white, sandy beaches. But ever since a 7.0-magnitude earthquake rocked the island in August, some have wondered whether its beaches are ready to welcome back tourists and surfers.
Such worries can be put aside, as the beaches of Lombok’s southern coast, which was least affected by the earthquake, are still as charming as ever.
One of them is Selong Belanak Beach, a white-sand beach with a line of booths that offer surfboards for rent and surfing classes. The beach is just a 30-minute drive from the bustling tourist hub of Kuta, not to be confused with Bali’s Kuta Beach.
Selong Belanak Beach is a popular destination for first-time and beginner surfers. Instructors there start with the basics by asking one to lay face down on a surfboard on the sand while paddling both arms.
“Now get up! No, that’s too slow. Again! Get up!” an instructor said, speaking with enthusiasm to a writer during a recent lesson.
After mastering the moves, the writer was guided to the water and, on only attempt number three, managed to ride a wave to the shore.
Big, long boards help beginners to find balance and their soft padded surfaces allow them to avoid slipping off, even if one does not have surfboard wax.
“When you surf, leave all your problems behind and relax, enjoy the waves surrounding you,” 20-year-old surfing instructor Zaen said.
“Whenever you see big waves coming but you are not in the right position to handle it, just leave your board and save yourself.”
Located next to the shallower, more crowded Selong Belanak Beach is the secluded Serangan Beach. At high tide, the waves at Serangan can be twice, if not three times bigger than those at Selong Belanak.
Mawi, another secluded beach located south of Selong Belanak, is sure to excite the more seasoned surfers.
Set in a beautiful west-facing bay, Mawi Beach offers strong and sparkling waves that are ideal for advanced surfers.
For beginners there, it is perhaps best to stick to relaxing and sunbathing on the picturesque beach while sipping from a cup of chilled young coconut.